Women’s Sevens World Cup: Aussie girls to face France in the last four

Photo: Mike Lee @ KLC fotos for World Rugby

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Australia’s World Series winning Women’s Sevens team are on course for yet more glory, after successfully coming through Day One of the 2018 World Cup to set up a semi-final clash with France.

A gallant effort from Papua New Guinea in game one kept the Aussies on their toes in the early exchanges. But their class eventually shone through in a 34-5 victory that blew away the cobwebs, and brought with it a Quarter-Final showdown with Spain – the side that dumped them out of the 2013 World Cup at the same stage.

There was no chance of a repeat performance this time however, as Australia clicked into gear in style and an Evania Pelite hat-trick helped them to a comprehensive 34-0 triumph.

“Everyone did their job and when we do that we are playing good footy,” said head coach John Manenti. “I’m lucky to have options and I’ll have another think as to how we go about using them tonight.
 
“France are on the up and up and I’ve been really impressed with them,” he continued. “They’ve gone through the roof and they offer a lot of threats.”

The semi-final clash against France kicks-off tomorrow morning 4:42am AEST.

Ellia Green_RWC Sevens_2018_WR

Ellia Green races to the tryline against PNG – Photo: Mike Lee @ KLC fotos for World Rugby

Papua New Guinea were something of an unknown quantity before a ball was kicked, given they are not currently one of the foundation teams on the World Series circuit. But their fire was doused early when Evania Pelite went over within 90 seconds of the kick-off.

Prolific try-scorer Emilee Cherry was on the board next after drifting through the PNG defence with ease. And when Emma Tonegato added a third after good work in contact from Charlotte Caslick, the pre-match expectations of a comfortable win from the pundits were ringing true.

Not to be outdone, PNG had the San Francisco crowd firmly on their side when Chelsea Garesa stepped Tonegato and managed to outpace Alicia Quirk and Caslick to find the line for a 15-5 deficit at the break. But any hopes of a genuine comeback were ended shortly after the restart when Caslick pounced on an error to get on the scoreboard.

From there it was no longer a case of if, but by how many, and a second for Caslick, followed by a trademark sprint up the sideline from newly arrived speedster Ellia Green, blew the final score out to 34-5.

Evania Pelite_RWC Sevens_2018_WR

Evania Pelite grabbed a hat-trick against Spain – Photo: Mike Lee @ KLC fotos for World Rugby

On paper, Spain were going to be a much tougher challenge in the Quarter-Final. But this team has an uncanny knack of going up a level when required, and their accurate and clinical performance from the off never looked like like opening the door for an opponent that simply couldn’t cope.

Evania Pelite opened the scoring after Emilee Cherry featured heavily in the lead-up, before the Aussies produced arguably their finest five-pointer of the day, Alicia Quirk kicking through for Emma Tonegato to dive home in acrobatic fashion.

Ellia Green entered the fray and didn’t waste any time in announcing her presence, racing away from almost her first touch of the ball to open up a 17-0 half-time lead. And the second stanza continued in much the same vein, Tonegato grabbing a double after more fine work from the ubiquitous Caslick.

That score broke any lingering Spanish resistance, and Australia brought it home with aplomb, the ever-alert Pelite crossing twice in the closing minutes to claim a hat-trick, and leave her team one win away from a gold medal final.

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ROUND OF 16
Australia 34-5 Papua New Guinea

Tries: Charlotte Caslick 2, Evania Pelite, Emilee Cherry, Emma Tonegato, Ellia Green
Cons: Emma Sykes 2

WORLD CUP QUARTER-FINAL
Australia 34-0 Spain

Tries: Evania Pelite 3, Emma Tonegato 2, Ellia Green
Cons: Emma Sykes 2

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